Cleveland rank on ‘worst’ list has silver lining

By Christina Sturgis

Cleveland has once again landed on a less-than-desirable list – the EscapeHere’s list of 10 worst cities to visit in the nation – but the description isn’t entirely disparaging.

Once known for the rise of Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller, the city on the southern shore of Lake Erie has been plagued by poverty and crime in recent years. EscapeHere states the city has lost 71,000 residents in the past five years. These factors have put Cleveland on the Forbes list of miserable cities and PolicyMic’s list of 10 deadliest cities, citing a murder rate of 24.6 for 100,000 residents.

EscapeHere, however, tempers its criticism with a nod to Cleveland’s artistic and cultural institutions, including the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Orchestra, often cited as one of the “Big Five” among the nation’s orchestras. The Museum of Art, which opened in 1916, is 25th on a list of 30 “must-see” art museums compiled by The Art Career Project. The museum, known worldwide for the depth and breadth of its collection, only charges admission only for special exhibits.

In addition to those early 20th century institutions, EscapeHere notes the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in Cleveland, and the city is gaining a reputation as a Mecca for rap and hip hop artists. The Rock Hall opened in September 1995 and has drawn more than 8 million visitors and had a $1.7 billion economic impact. Organizers say the recent Annual Ohio Hip-Hop Awards drew about 400 people to the city.

Cleveland is fourth on the worst cities to visit list, after Detroit, St. Louis and Reno, but before Chicago, Camden, N.J.; Memphis; New Haven, Conn.; Stockton and Oakland, Calif.; take the ninth and 10th places, respectively. Writer Stuart Smith pointed out that the Motor City, the only major city in the United States to file for bankruptcy, is attempting revitalization.